Statistically Speaking: How Bad were the 2019 Individual Offensive Performances?

By: G.Stryker, Twitter @SNStryker and Instagram @SNStryker

So it appears I saved the worst for last! As we touched on the lowest ranked offense in Pittsburgh Steelers history for yardage at #30, paired with their second lowest ranking in points scored at #27, it made for some pretty terrible individual efforts, and no position was safe. It was tough enough that the Steelers were dealing with injuries to their top two quarterbacks, but also had their top three running backs, and top wide receivers miss some time as well. As a result after week 1, the top players at each position did not play a game together for the rest of the season. 

Quarterback was the hardest hit by the injury bug, with Ben Roethlisberger missing all but two games with his elbow reconstruction surgery, and Mason Rudolph missing time with a concussion, then finished the season on injured reserve by separating his non throwing shoulder. Rudolph led the team in most of the passing categories with 1,765 yards, 13 touchdowns, and an 82.0 passer rating. You have to go back 20 years to find a team leading quarterback with less yards and that was Mike Tomczak in 1999 with 1,650 yards. A year later in 2000, Kordell Stewart led the team with 11 passing touchdowns, marking the last time this team had a leader with less than 12 passing touchdowns (though Stewart also managed to score 7 rushing touchdowns that year as well). For a lower quarterback rating by a starter, you have to look at Roethlisberger’s 2008 performance with an 80.1, though he did manage to win a Super Bowl that year.

The running back room had a tough time finding any consistency with rotating quarterbacks and injuries causing James Conner to miss four games, Benny Snell Jr. to miss three games, and Jaylen Samuels to miss two. The team leader for yards and touchdowns was Conner who only managed 464 yards and 4 touchdowns. Output this low is historically bad. 2012 was the last year the Steelers’ leader in rushing touchdowns was below 4. It was with the three-headed rushing attack of Jonathan Dwyer, Chris Rainey, and Isaac Redman, who each scored only 2 touchdowns. The Pittsburgh Steelers rushing attack has been strong through most of their history, so you have to go back 52 years before the 70s dynasty to 1967 when Don Shy led his team with 341 yards rushing. Keep in mind, seasons were 14 games long instead of today’s 16 and soon to be 17 games. 

The receiver room was a bit more healthy, but nagging injuries to Diontae Johnson (groin), JuJu Smith-Schuster (toe), and James Washington (shoulder), truly limited their ability to be at their best. Washington led the team in receiving yards with 735, albeit with a very good yards per catch average of 16.7. As a rookie, Johnson led the team with receptions (59) and receiving touchdowns (5). For a team that is used to seeing either 100 catches or 1,000 yards out of their top receiver, you have to go back 19 seasons to 2000 when Hines Ward had lower numbers all around as the team leader with 48 receptions, 4 touchdowns and also tied Bobby Shaw that year with 672 yards. With the promise of Washington and Johnson showing they are reliable targets, Smith-Schuster’s numbers are sure to go up with the healthy return of #7 Ben Roethilsberger.  


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